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Punching Out Parkinson’s

Marlene Kahan, the head of ASME (American Society of Magazine Editors), has launched a campaign to “Punch Out Parkinson’s” via public service announcements in magazines. This makes a lot of sense, considering, as she put it “I have the magazine world in the palm of my hand.”

The launch party for the campaign was last Thursday (April 27th) at the well-appointed multi-bazillion dollar Upper East Side home of William Reilly, former head of Primedia and now head of Aurelian Communications. At the media-star-studded event, Kahan announced that her campaign has so far raised $25 million worth of Public Service Ads in 20 magazines/media outlets, including AARP’s magazine, Adweek, Business Week, Cooking Light, Edutopia, Forbes, Gourmet, Harvard Business Review, Kiplinger’s, People, Prevention, Success, Travel & Leisure — and mediabistro.com. Not bad for a night’s work!


We learned a lot about Parkinson’s that night from Marlene, who suffers from early onset Parkinson’s (meaning, she got it young. Here are some interesting facts:

  • there is no scientific test for the disease; it can only be detected via a combination of symptoms
  • More than 1 million people in the U.S. have Parkinson’s, 60,000 new cases are diagnosed every year, that’s one every 9 minutes.

    At the height of the evening, Marlene gave a few remarks, adding a gentle plea to the attendees:
    “I could either let [Parkinson's] beat me or do something about it,” she said. “Editors, I know I can’t force you to write anything … But we’d love it for you to educate your readers. We’re going to find a cure and very soon!”

    With that, everyone repaired once more to their vodka mixtures (sponsored by we forget which major advertiser) and fabulous hors d’oeuvres, provided by caterer Diane Gordon.

    Here are some pics of the attendees. The ones in BOLD are on the POP Advisory Board or POP’s Planning Committee. (Not pictured is planning committee member Diane Stefani of the Rosen group):

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    The daughter of Muhammad Ali, May May Ali (gang prevention social worker by day, writer/comedienne by night), with Marlene Kahan (ASME) and Neil Leifer, who photographed the shot of Ali that’s in POP’s new campaign. You’ll be seeing a lot of it. Said May May of her father, “My dad is lifting weights, big weights, bigger than I can lift! He said to tell everyone he is thankful for your efforts.”

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    Bari Pollack, Ken Sander and Marlene Kahan

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    David Carey (Conde Nast) and Jeff Bercovici (WWD)

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    Cindi Leive (Glamour)

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    Ryan Ungaro with father Colin Ungaro (son and husband of Susan Ungaro, president, James Beard Foundation). Colin works at Reed Business Information.

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    David Zinczenko (Men’s Health). David Z to host Bill Reilly as he’s being given the grand tour of the four-story house, “Tell you what. Five million dollars and I’ll take it. No lawyers, no brokers. Your people call my people, it’s done.” To that Reilly replied: “You mean, for one floor.”

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    Cyndi Stivers (Martha Stewart Omnimedia), Tony Reilly (son of Bill Reilly), David Matt (Men’s Health) and Danielle Reilly (wife of Tony).

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    Zinczenko to Susan Lyne, of Martha Stewart Omnimedia: “It’s a pleasure to finally meet you!”

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    Ed Lewis (Essence Communications Chairman and Founder)

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    Ed Kelly (American Express Publishing), with Randye Stein, Neil Leifer (famed sports and military photographer), Business Week’s Bill Kupper

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    Susan Goodall and Wendy Naugle (both of Glamour)

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    Lisa Granatstein (Mediaweek).

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    David Kahn (on right) with Stephanie Stokes Oliver, former deputy editor of Essence and fellow left-hander. She says there’s an International Left-Handers Day on August 13th. We’ll be watching for this!

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    What media bash would be complete without the Post‘s Keith Kelly (in orange tie)?

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    Business Week’s Bill Kupper, Mark Furlong, Ron Stern (Marlene’s brother, and ad manager of Playboy), with Bari Pollack, who owns BPS Solutions, a corporate meetings and events company.

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    Emily Listfield (former editor of Fitness), now novelist, with Jon Fine (mediacentric columnist for Business Week and husband extraordinaire :) . Listfield’s book sounds like it will be a fascinating roman a clef (it’s called “Lost and Found”), based loosely on her husband’s mysterious disappearance during a night-time swim six years ago in Florida. Why did she wait so long to write the book? “I wanted to write this book when my daughter was older … I also wanted to write about the magazine business, but not from the point of view of a disgruntled assistant.”

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    Bill Kupper and Miriam Mason (Weber Shandwick).

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    Nanette Varian features editor at More magazine with husband Peter Bloch, editor of Penthouse.

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    Chris Napolitano (Playboy).

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    Nicole Belan, who writes the “Ask the Girl Next Door” column for Men’s Health and Women’s Health, and Florian Bachleda, design director of VIBE.

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    Nancy Novogrod, eic of Travel + Leisure, arriving.

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    Ed Kelly, head of AMEX Publishing.

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    Writer-about-town, Greg Lindsay, and his gal pal Sophie Donelson, who just left the editor-in-chief job of City magazine to pursue freelancing.

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    Diane Silberstein, chief flack at Penthouse (she used to be at
    Playboy interestingly).

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    David Adler, CEO of BizBash.com, who convinced Bill Reilly to hold the party at his house, with me. Nice work, David!

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    Uber Husband, Jon Fine, again.

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    Paige Nelson (Sotheby’s), Miriam Mason and Peter Mountford, P.H.D., Stem Cell Sciences.

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    Bill Reilly and Russell Denson (former head of Gruner + Jahr).

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    Sue Geramian (Bookspan) with Stephanie Stokes Oliver (formerly of Essence).

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    Alan Stiles, consulting to Men’s Fitness, with Peter Sikowitz (former editor of Men’s Fitness), now of HRW.

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    Cyndi Stivers, a big shot at Martha Stewart Omnimedia.

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    Sue Webb and Diane Silberstein.

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    Tony Reilly and Eric Baum, who both work at Aurelian Communications.

    Here are some pics of the house, with its roof gardens and umpteen rooms:

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    Sue Geramian, Bill Reilly and David Adler. When asked about his taste in decor, Reilly said “I’m a classicist … You want to know something about this house? It was all middle-class housing in this area when it was built, in 1878. A couple of lesbians came in in the 1920′s and started to fix it up.” Reilly combined two adjoining houses to create his manse.

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    The interior designer of the house, Tim Whealon (left), with his friend Marjorie Shushan, also a well-known interior designer.

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    The grand entrance way.

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    To the right was the party room.

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    Upon entering the house, this was the view. As you can see, the sculpture sits at the bottom of a spiral staircase, which goes up and up and up!

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    The view up the staircase.

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    One of the many rooms.

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    Chandelier.

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    At the top of the staircase is a skylight and an atrium underneath that. We’ll get there soon.

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    Looking down from the staircase.

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    Looking down at the entrance way.

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    Top of the staircase looking toward the atrium and outside terraces.

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    Atrium.

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    View from one of the terraces of the bridge. Dana Cowin (Food & Wine), foreground.

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    Another view of the bridge.

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    View of the Atrium (left) and skylight (right) from the terrace.

    Some details of the rooms:

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    Chimney piece on the second floor that was designed by Pietro Bossi, who was Italian, but lived in Dublin. “Bill Reilly loves Irish stuff,” says designer Whealon.

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    Detail of the chimney piece.

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    My favorite room in the house. The dining room. The chairs were purchased at Christie’s. Since there were only four, Whealon had to go to Paris to have two others made, in custom-colored gauffraged silk velvet. The table is early Georgian walnut, he says. They bought a lot of the furnishings and art in Europe, made a lot of custom items, mirrors, lanterns, etc., and made copies of some items.

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    Imagine looking at him while dining. He’s right outside the dining room.

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    View over the dining room table. The designer says this is the first-ever painting of an aerial view of the Commedia dell’arte.

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    Closer inspection of the art, which was made by an “unknown monagrammist in Northern Italy.”

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    This is just like the media world we live in, isn’t it?

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